In the UK it is deemed illegal to deliberately kill or injure red squirrels, cause a disturbance while they are using a nest, or destroying it. The 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act provides these protections, there is a legal anomaly in England and Wales that can potentially undermine the conservation of the red squirrel, along with all the other rare and endangered plants or animal species. Although the rare woodland species are protected, their abode is really running hot.
Timber harvest requires a license with very limited exceptions where this permission is not required, mostly because of public safety, or where a small amount of wood is being cut.
A timber felling license does not take away the legal protection that animals like the red squirrel have and therefore a precautionary approach is advisable when cutting woodlands holding this species.
The solution plainly lies in amending the Forestry Act that incorporates both timber harvesting and wildlife protection laws. Harmonizing UK forestry legislation would make a better timing, methods, and patterns of tree harvesting to be guaranteed in habitats with rare species. Further, while licensing authorities currently can only assess each cutting license in isolation, a legislative change would make it possible for the cumulative impact of granting a license to be taken into consideration in relation to felling that was approved earlier. This inhibits management of rare woodland species on a specific location being at the mercy of timber prices and market economics.
While some felling will inevitably still be licensed even when operations will adversely affect individual animals of a conserved species through habitat loss or change in the environment. Although such decisions may be unacquainted with local people, it is common for wildlife management plans to concentrate on population-level preservation targets rather than at the individual animal level.
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